If you’ve never heard of María Sabina, you’ve likely seen her image. She’s not only a popular figure in psychedelic art but is responsible for introducing magic mushrooms to the West.
Her fateful encounter with R Gordon Wasson would change the world of psychedelics forever. After that, she became known as the priestess of mushrooms.
Yet, as her popularity surged, she found herself in trouble with her community and the Mexican government.
To find out all about María Sabina and why the magic mushroom community owes her so much, then continue reading below.
María Sabina’s Early Life
María Sabina’s full name was María Sabina Magdalena García, born into the Mazatec ethnic group in 1894. She lived in a village called Huautla de Jiménez in the mountains of Sierra de Oaxaca in Southern Mexico.
Her parents were poor laborers known as Campesinos. Yet, her father’s side of the family included a few shamans.
María Sabina became familiar with the region’s traditional ceremonies as a young girl. One of these ceremonies was the use of magic mushrooms to contact the gods.
Supposedly, María Sabina first tried magic mushrooms when she was just 8 years old. From then on, she began her long intertwined journey with los niños santos, or “the little saints.”
María Sabina the Shaman
María Sabina became a shaman in the middle of her life. In fact, she spent much of her life laboring under physical hardship.
Over this time, she used magic mushrooms sporadically. She had profound respect for the mushrooms but didn’t use them often.
However, she did believe that mushrooms gave wisdom and cured illnesses. Her real career as a shaman began after one occasion with her sister—María Ana.
After using magic mushrooms, she saw a figure of death near her sister’s side during an intense illness her sister had. During this trip, she received guidance on how to cure her sister.
She also reported that she was given access to the wisdom and language of the mushrooms from spiritual beings.
After this, her fame began spreading, and indigenous people came from miles around to participate in her veladas. A velada is a healing ceremony that uses psilocybin mushrooms to communicate with God, heal, and experience enlightenment.
During a velada, María Sabina would eat magic mushrooms with her clients, and they would have a visionary experience together. During the velada, the client’s illness or problem would appear.
María Sabina would then sing and chant in Mazatec and invoke the power of the mushrooms to command evil influences to leave.
María Sabina Introduces Magic Mushrooms to the West
María Sabina’s fame began to spread to more than just the surrounding communities. Soon, she had foreigners from the West becoming curious about her practices.
The first person to witness María Sabina’s rituals was in 1938. The daughter of a famous botanist named Richard Evan Schultes sat in on a ritual but did not participate.
It was in the 1950s that the first outsiders were allowed to participate in a magic mushroom ceremony.
Along comes a man named R. Gordon Wasson. Wasson was interesting because he was not a mycologist, at least initially.
His career was as an investment banker, and he only became interested in mushrooms through his wife—Valentina Pavlovna Wasson. Yet, this interest turned into a passion as he and his wife began making expeditions to Mexico.
In 1953, Wasson and his wife traveled to Mexico to research the religious use of mushrooms by native people. Then, in 1955, Wasson and a photographer named Allan Richardson became the first outsiders to participate in a magic mushroom ceremony.
This was thanks to María Sabina, who shared her knowledge with the foreigners. It’s said that she had a mushroom vision about the outsider’s visit before they arrived.
Wasson then detailed his incredible experience in the famous Life Magazine article called Seeking the Magic Mushroom. This article got the attention of people in the West to the healing potential of magic mushrooms.
What followed was a psychedelic revolution that’s still being felt to this day. And it’s all thanks to María Sabina.
María Sabina in Trouble
In the Life Magazine article, Wasson tried to cover up Sabina’s identity with a fake name—Eva Mendez. But, soon, the cat was out of the bag, and her identity was revealed.
It didn’t take long for people to start making their way to Huautla de Jiménez and María Sabina. What began as a trickle turned into a stream of people.
The town became a destination for hippies, beatniks, and those curious. This caused a lot of grief for the Mazatec community, who were tired of foreigners disrespecting the mushroom ceremony.
It didn’t take long for the Mexican police to accuse her of drug dealing. Yet, it was her community that ultimately punished María Sabina.
Sadly, she was excluded from her community, her son was mysteriously killed, and her house burned down. Things didn’t calm down until 1967, after the Mexican army blocked unwanted visitors from the village.
After that, María Sabina would continue her life in poverty and illness. Sadly, María Sabina passed away in 1985, suffering from malnutrition.
Honoring María Sabina With Magic Mushrooms
María Sabina had a difficult life, but it was filled with healing and purpose. Thanks to her, we now enjoy the healing powers of psilocybin mushrooms.
The best way to honor her legacy is to seek out and take magic mushrooms. However, getting magic mushrooms no longer takes a hike into a remote mountain village in Mexico.
Instead, if you live in Canada, all you need to do is take a trip over to Get Magic Mushrooms. GMM is the best online magic mushroom dispensary for Canadian citizens.
GMM is the easy choice with professionally grown mushrooms and lightning-fast delivery.
Head to Get Magic Mushrooms today and discover the power of los niños santos.